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Violinist's holiday series raises funds for late friend's foundation



COURTESY: AARON MEYER - Aaron Meyer (left) and Tim Ellis (jumping) put on a holiday concert series for 15 years together. Ellis passed away in March, and this year's concert series and a new album has been dedicated to the Portland music man.Portland rock violinist Aaron Meyer misses his good friend Tim Ellis every day, but he’ll bring back some great memories of their friendship during the holiday season.

The 2016 Aaron Meyer Holiday Concert Series is billed as “A Tribute to Guitarist Tim Ellis,” Dec. 8-10 at First Congregational Church in Portland. It’ll also serve as an album-release event for the “Hallelujah” project, which started shortly before the popular music man Ellis died from cancer at age 60 earlier this year.

The album features works by many Portland musicians, including Meyer and his band, Ellis’ son Tom Ellis, The Brown Sisters and Michael Allen Harrison. Proceeds after expenses go to the Tim Ellis Music Foundation.

“All sorts of people, close friends with Tim, wanted to contribute something,” Meyer says. “We wanted to honor and celebrate all the wonderful things he had done. He touched so many people.”

Ellis was a musician, guitar player, recording studio owner and teacher, and now is an inductee into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. Shortly before his friend’s passing, Meyer decided to record Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and he shared some early versions with Ellis. The song features Meyer, several Oregon Symphony string musicians, Tom Ellis and a choir of Ellis’ friends, including Michele Van Kleef and The Brown Sisters. It was engineered by his good friend Dean Baskerville.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - Tim Ellis was a popular Portland music man, guitarist, mentor, recording studio owner and teacher.There are 15 songs on the album: “Hallelujah”; “Al Amir,” Ellis and Jim Walker; “All Fall Down,” Ellis/Walker; “I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day,” Ellis/Walker; “Don’t Stop Believing,” Aaron Meyer Band (Journey’s song); “Precious” percussion, Carl Smith/Mike Braun; “The Journey Home,” Michael Allen Harrison/Meyer; “Divertimento in D major, K. 136,” Oregon Symphony (Mozart’s piece); “In His Arms,” Leana Baskerville; “Trust Is Good,” Jean-Pierre Garau/Meyer; “Tranquilo Strong,” Tom Ellis; “Susan’s Song,” Ellis; “Imagine,” Meyer/Garau; “Amazing Grace,” The Brown Sisters; “And We Bid You Good Night,” The Brown Sisters.

“Susan’s Song” was composed by Ellis for he and wife Susan’s wedding many years ago. Ellis and Susan have six grown children.

“It was the big effort of all of Tim’s friends,” Meyer says. “I didn’t care what it cost, we just did it.”

The holiday performances will be hard for Meyer. He and Ellis started their association nearly 20 years ago, recorded seven albums and collaborated on 15 holiday concerts series.

“It’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve had to do since Tim left us,” he says. “We grew this series together, really tag-teamed it.”

He and keyboard player Garau have worked to help continue educational workshops, camps and programs that Meyer and Ellis had done together.

Cameron Morgan has replaced Ellis as guitar player in Meyer’s band for the holiday concerts.

“He would want us to do it,” Meyer says, of the concerts and album. “I feel him with me all the time. I feel like, without knowing it, he prepared me for continuing on without him. ... It all unfolded and came together.”

For information and tickets for Meyer’s holiday concert series, which also features his father, Julian, go to www.aaronmeyer.com.

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